A variety of owl sizes exist, ranging from the tiniest little owl to the eagle owl, which is the world’s largest owl. Consequently, owls have a broad diet that includes many different types of prey. However, can rabbits play a role in their diets?
Rabbits are a valuable food source for almost all owl species, and they are hunted by nearly all of them. Even the screech and little owls can prey on small and baby rabbits; however, larger predators like barn owls, barred owls, hawk owls, and great horned are more likely to prey on adult and larger rabbits.
Barn owls are the most common owls in the United States; however, they are also common in Europe.
Do Owls Eat Rabbits?
Owls are opportunist hunters, which means they prey on anything and everything that comes their way, which regrettably includes wild rabbits as well as many other tiny rodents and large mammals.
They are also mostly nocturnal, which implies that they spend the majority of their time hunting at night. When combined with their superb eyesight, hearing, speed, precision, and patience, owls are extremely successful predators in their respective environments.
Because there is such a wide variation in size between owl species, they are all capable of carrying a variety of various weights. In this case, a great horned owl can carry up to four times its own body weight, which is impressive.
In other words, they are more than capable of transporting even the largest of rabbits and hares. Wild rabbits weigh approximately 4 pounds (1.8 kg) on average, whereas hares weigh approximately 9 pounds (4 kg).
How Do Hunt Rabbits?
Rabbits are most often hunted and caught when they are out in the open munching grass, which is when owls are most active. They’ll usually perch on a branch and wait patiently.
When the rabbit isn’t really alarmed, the owl will quietly swoop down and attack the hapless rabbit with its strong and sharp talons, which will cause the rabbit to die.
It is common for these talons to be employed to kill rabbits by crushing the head and tearing it apart when the rabbit is consumed.
Most of their prey is consumed immediately by owls, except when they are hunting for their young, in which case they bring the prey back to the nest for further consumption.
Do Owls Eat Pet Rabbits?
When it comes to your pet rabbit, you shouldn’t have to be concerned about owls in general. For further protection, keep your rabbit in a hutch that is enclosed with a roof covering to keep predators away.
It is highly rare for owls to prey on domestic rabbits, however it has been known to happen in exceptional instances.
The majority of owls and other birds of prey that prey on rabbits are fearful of humans, which implies that rural areas are the most likely sites for this to occur – again, only in severe conditions.
Hutches are the most effective method of protection for your pet rabbit, but adding security lights and creating noise are also effective deterrents – for example, if you notice an owl landing in your garden near your rabbit, making noise will scare it away because owls are afraid of humans.
Is It True That Owls Devour Hares?
In a similar manner, owls will consume hares and rabbits. The smaller owls will once again prey on baby and smaller hares, while the larger owls will hunt adult and larger hares.